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sailor
11-19-2011, 02:36
Looking through the posts it looks like many of you got real bargains when you bought your Retinas. My Retina 11c with f2.8 Xenon came refurbished and in beautiful condition and it cost me over £200. At the time I thought I was probably paying too much but looking at the results I think it was worth every penny. Below are some photos showing what it can do. Three of the pictures are taken on the Isle of Skye. To be honest Skye always looks best in dramatic lighting - here the weather is just too good for great photos but they are decent record shots and very sharp! All photos on Kodak Ektar 100.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6109/6357848423_11cb2574c8_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357848423/)
Quiraing - Isle of Skye (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357848423/) by Elmer Duck (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6224/6357840095_9c00c60d4e_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357840095/)
Trotternish Ridge from Digg - Isle of Skye. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357840095/) by Elmer Duck (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6228/6357799041_e48424b612_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357799041/)
Cairidh Ghlumaig. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357799041/) by Elmer Duck (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6033/6357788443_ef81d842d9_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357788443/)
View towards Biggar - South Lanarkshire (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6357788443/) by Elmer Duck (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Tom Harrell
11-19-2011, 08:31
Sailor,
Those are some really nice quality photos. Beautiful peaceful looking place! Thanks for sharing them!
I have a Retina IIa that is a pleasure to use!
Tom Harrell

Brian Sweeney
11-19-2011, 08:44
Buying a camera that has been properly repaired, cleaned, lubed and adjusted means a lot. That service for a Retina is easily worth $125 or so, especially if the gear rack needs to be replaced.

I picked mine up for less money, but invested the time to disassemble, clean, and repair.

sailor
11-19-2011, 10:49
Sailor,
Those are some really nice quality photos. Beautiful peaceful looking place! Thanks for sharing them!
I have a Retina IIa that is a pleasure to use!
Tom Harrell

Thank you for your kind comments. My wife and I are lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time on the Isle of Skye which is a fantastic photographic location. One thing I've had to accept is that no matter how good my photos of Skye are, I just have to look at Flickr to realize that there are plenty of better ones there. I'll keep trying however!

The rest of our time is spent in South Lanarkshire which is near the Scottish Borders. The scenery there is not nearly as dramatic as Skye but is beautiful in its own way.

RichL
11-19-2011, 10:52
Nice shots from a seldom mentioned camera. P.S. Just finished checking out your flicker photos. I actually prefer the Trotternish Ridge Kilmuir photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6285334119/in/photostream/ over the one you posted. My favorite of all of them though is the one with the cow in the foreground.

sailor
11-19-2011, 11:02
Buying a camera that has been properly repaired, cleaned, lubed and adjusted means a lot. That service for a Retina is easily worth $125 or so, especially if the gear rack needs to be replaced.

I picked mine up for less money, but invested the time to disassemble, clean, and repair.

I think you're absolutely right. I've spent too much money buying old cameras which either didn't work at all or stopped working soon after I bought them. This time I decided to play safe and spend a bit more and get a warranty. I've never regretted it - the camera is spot on in every way.

A bit of me thinks I would prefer to do it your way and have the satisfaction of servicing and repairing the camera myself. However in my heart of hearts I know that I neither have the knowledge, skill or, more importantly, the patience to do it myself. It must give you a great deal of pleasure to see a workable camera emerge from a basket case.

Spider67
11-19-2011, 11:13
Those are great photos. Thanks for sharing them.
The IIc is a very goofd tool

sailor
11-19-2011, 13:59
Nice shots from a seldom mentioned camera. P.S. Just finished checking out your flicker photos. I actually prefer the Trotternish Ridge Kilmuir photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6285334119/in/photostream/ over the one you posted. My favorite of all of them though is the one with the cow in the foreground.

I don't necessarily agree with you about the Trotternish Ridge pictures but I do agree about the cows photo. This is my favourite too. The evening light is far more interesting than the more bland lighting in the other pictures.

farlymac
11-19-2011, 18:23
Look at it this way. You have a camera that is in tip-top shape, and you take very good photos with it. You could have spent all the money, and been a no talent hack. But I suspect you already were a good photographer, and you invested your hard earned currency in a quality piece of equipment. Shoot away!

PF

dave lackey
11-21-2011, 14:15
Okay, so you got my interest!

Where does one get a Kodak Retina IIC in great shape?:angel:

batterytypehah!
11-21-2011, 14:31
Beautiful photos. I spent a week on Skye, backpacking with a friend, over 20 years ago now. Brings back some great memories.

sailor
11-22-2011, 12:38
Okay, so you got my interest!

Where does one get a Kodak Retina IIC in great shape?:angel:

I bought mine on Ebay UK from a Belgian guy called Jacques Deco. At the time he had about 25 Retinas of all sorts, including Retina Reflexes, for sale. I've had a quick look on Ebay UK but I can't see any sign of him having cameras for sale just now. I don't know what's happened to him. There are usually good looking Retinas advertised. It probably would be worth buying one of those and having it CLA'd. Jacques Deco described himself as an enthusiast who had taught himself over the years how to service Retinas so if an amateur can do it I would imagine any competent repairman should be able to do a decent job. Hope you find what you're looking for - Retinas are fantastic cameras.

dave lackey
11-22-2011, 14:29
Hmm... KEH has a IIA for $39...what is the difference between a IIA and a IIC?

sailor
11-22-2011, 15:08
Hmm... KEH has a IIA for $39...what is the difference between a IIA and a IIC?

I'm not an expert on Retinas. At the time I was buying my 11c I chose it simply because it was the best looking one on the website. I could just as easily have chosen another model. There are umpteen to choose from but you have to be careful about whether the c in the name is a big C or a wee c. You could spend an interesting evening online trying to sort it out. Here is a website which tells you about the 11a and 11c. http://dantestella.com/technical/retina.html.

Personally I don't think you can go wrong at the cheap prices these seem to go for, particularly in the US. It wasn't that long ago that a good looking operational 11c could not find a bid of $75 on Ebay. I definitely paid way over the going rate for mine but I did get a warranty, it had been taken to bits and put back together again and had the cocking rack (which is a common failure) replaced. The camera is absolutely spot on. Give it a go. The prices are ludicrous and for once there at the cheap end of ludicrous!

batterytypehah!
11-22-2011, 15:23
I have a lot of respect for Dante's reviews but this one I can't figure out:

In action, all of them have equally poor finders. This, of course, has nothing to do with the result.

Come again?

The finder on my II (type 014) is an unmitigated disaster. I would not recommend one for serious use without an accessory finder.

RichL
11-22-2011, 15:54
I have a lot of respect for Dante's reviews but this one I can't figure out:



Come again?

The finder on my II (type 014) is an unmitigated disaster. I would not recommend one for serious use without an accessory finder.

Well it ain't no view camera but I can't say as I've ever had a particular problem with it even when switching between an slr and my IIa. Perhaps it is because I never try to frame tight with a rangefinder?

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 16:16
The IIc and IIIc (small c) have brightlines for the 50mm lens, better eye-relief, and an over-all larger finder than the earlier Retina II and IIa.

The finder of the Retina II and IIa is comparable in size and eye relief of a Contax II and Nikon S.

The IIC and IIIC have a finder with 35/50/85 brightlines, much better eye-relief, and a finder comparable to a good 1970s fixed-lens RF.

Most of the Retina finders are subject to haze. Once cleaned up, the finders are quite good.

batterytypehah!
11-22-2011, 16:40
The finder of the Retina II and IIa is comparable in size and eye relief of a Contax II and Nikon S.

Not even close, I'm afraid, Brian. My Retina II has without a doubt the worst finder of any of my "serious" cameras. Admittedly, my experience with Contax II and Nikon S is limited to a handful of times at camera shows but the Contax IIa wipes the floor with it. Barnack Leicas wipe the floor with it. Contemporary Voigtländers and Agfas wipe the floor with it. Heck, even my Agfa Clack has a better finder!

With my glasses, it's impossible to see the edges of the VF. Without them, I have to squeeze the camera into my eye socket so deep I literally worry about my eyelashes getting stuck in a crevice.

@dave -- My advice: You can shoot the same lens for much less money and with a very nice (if poorly placed) brightline finder if you can do without the RF. The Retina IB has the same staggering build quality as the RF-equipped models. And after only about a month of frustration and missed shots due to the Retina's many "quirks"--EV lock, bottom mounted advance, fiddly frame counter that locks the camera when at zero, over-engineered opening latch--you might even get used to it.

EDIT: By "same lens" I mean the one sailor used for these shots, the 2.8 Xenar. The 2.0 Xenon was only available with RF, obviously.

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 16:54
The finder in my Retina II type 14 cleaned up quite well, better than my Contax II. With my thick glasses for near-sighted vision, I can see the frames end-to-end.

I just looked through the finders of the Retina II, Retina IIa, IIIc, and Retina IIC and compared with my Contax II and IIa.

The finder of the IIC is in a different class from all of these- and really does make it clear as to why it commands a higher price.

I tend to pop the tops of all of my Retina cameras when received, and clean the viewfinders. I even replaced the prism on my Retina Reflex-S with one from a Minolta XG-7. That finder is now very bright.

On the IIc/IIIc/IIC/IIIC- removing the EV lock is easy. Done by filing down the locking lever that ties the aperture to the shutter dial. I did that for a friend, but not for my own.

somehow, I ended up with over 20 Retinas.

batterytypehah!
11-22-2011, 17:05
Well I don't know what gives, Brian. I'm near-sighted, as well. My experience is as above.

It's not a matter of cleaning up the glass, I just positively cannot see the outline, while other finders of the same kind (Leica IIIf, Vito II, Zorki-1) give me no such trouble.

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 17:08
Pulled out the Retina II type 11 with the Ektar lens- bought for $20 at a "second hand shop"... the finder on it also cleaned up well. Same conditon as the Type 14: cleaned up quite well. The finder on these two cameras compare well with my Contax IIIa color dial and the Nikon S. The Retina finders are brighter. The finders on the Contax and Nikon are in good condition. My Nikon M finder has deteriorated, and is not a good comparison.

The Retina IIa that I have is not as nice, deterioration in the beamsplitter. The worst I've seen of 6 or so IIa's that I cleaned. These cameras are 60+ years old.

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 17:17
The Leica IIIf and Zorki do not have combined VF/RF as do the Retina II series cameras. The Vito II does not have a rangefinder, just a viewfinder. I do not have a Vito II, but do have a Vitessa N, Vitessa T, Prominent I, and Prominent "1.5". All in all- the Retina II finder is on par with the Voigtlander RF's of the same period.

The Contax and Nikon are squinty, and use prisms for the splitters. The eye-relief is poor on both.

batterytypehah!
11-22-2011, 17:20
Brian, can we agree to disagree? Obviously your experience differs from mine. That doesn't invalidate mine.

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 17:30
Viewfinder of the Leica IIIa, Leica IIIf, and Zorki- brighter and easy to see out to the edges. Combining the rangefinder image requires a beamsplitter, and the Contax and Nikon S finders are darker than the Leica and Zorki. Mine are also darker than the Retina II finders.

batterytypehah!
11-22-2011, 17:43
I'll say it again since you insist: My Retina II is much worse than my Contax IIa. It has nothing to do with brightness or combined VF/RF. It has to do with the edges not being in my field of view. Not dim, not dark -- not there.

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 18:06
I rarely run into people with worse eye-sight than my own. Must be the prescription.

But I just do not have a problem using the finder on the Retina II, and my original statement that the eye relief was better than the Contax II and Nikon S was made by looking through them this evening. These cameras have squinty finders by mid 1950s standards. The Leica M3, Nikon S2, and Canon V series cameras raised the ante on useable finders, and Zeiss just did not keep up. The Retina IIC and IIIC finders are very good. For extended use - worth looking at.

Brian Legge
11-22-2011, 18:13
This thread inspired me to spend some time cleaning oil off the shutter blades of my IIIc which started sticking. Also cleaned the lenses a bit as they had some haze while I had the front and rear elements out. Not perfect but we'll see how a test roll goes.

Brian Sweeney
11-22-2011, 18:25
The IIIc is very simple to pop the top and clean the finder. rewind knob comes off, three screws on the top plate- done. I will put together a thread on it. Same with the IIIS top plate. The Retina II- the advance knob is reverse threaded.

The IIa is the most difficult: I end up using dental floss to hold back the claw that locks the advance lever at exposure zero. It took a lot of attempts to learn that trick.